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France is a two-tier semi-presidential regime, traditionally resting on a two-party system. However, this election is different. Top French politicians (François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Manuel Valls) have been voted out, and weak economic performance, political defiance and anti-establishment rhetoric-at home and abroad- have caused a blatant lack of forward visibility. The stigma of a lost decade could be at stake: GDP per capita is almost the same as in 2007; with close to 10% unemployment, inequalities of opportunities have risen between the so-called insiders (often with an open-ended job contract) to the outsiders (the unemployed); and France’s voice in Europe sounds dimmed by a vulnerable macroeconomic dashboard (e.g. 96.7% debt-to-GDP ratio) and a sluggish private sector growth.

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